Andre Greipel carefully checked his bike after reaching his Lotto Belisol team car following stage two of the Tour of Oman. The German national champion had won the opening stage and pulled on the first red race leader's jersey. But 24 hours later, the sprinter's wheel had turned the other way and he finished a disappointed 25th.
Greipel asked the team mechanic to check his front chain ring, revealing he had dropped his chain in the final part of the race and so had lost any chance of success in the sprint. He suggested that the problem could have been caused by hitting a pot hole in the road. Whatever the reason, Greipel missed out on the sprint and lost the race leader's red jersey to Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge).
He was clearly not happy but brushed off major disappointment.
"What can you do? That's racing. You either have the right luck, the right moment to win, or you don't," he said, using simple sprinter's philosophy.
"It was a bit of a mess with the block headwind. There were riders everywhere and there was nowhere for me to go after I had my problem."
Before the stage Greipel made a special effort to offer his condolences to the riders of the IAM Cycling team following the death of Kristof Goddaert. He stood just behind the IAM Cycling riders during the minute's silence before the start of the stage.
"He was a nice guy but we have to keep on going, even if it's hard…" he told Cyclingnews, summing up many people's thoughts at the Tour of Oman.
He later tweeted: "@Lotto_Belisol boys gave the best on a day when the head was not feeling like racing. We win and lose together. Congrats @Kristoff87."
It was yet another example why Greipel, despite his nickname of the Gorilla, is arguably the gentleman sprinter of his generation.
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